Microcirculation is an important component of the cardiovascular system and can be used to assess systemic cardiovascular health. Numerous studies have investigated cutaneous microcirculation as an indicator of cardiovascular related diseases. Such research has shown promising results; however, there are many limitations regarding the employed measurement techniques, such as poor depth and spatial resolution and measurement versatility. Here we show the results of functional cutaneous microvascular experiments measured with photoacoustic microscopy, which provides high spatial resolution and multiparameter measurements. In a set of experiments, microvascular networks located in the palms of volunteers were perturbed by periodic ischemic events, and the subsequent hemodynamic response to the stimulus was recorded. Results indicate that during periods of arterial occlusion, the relative oxygen saturation of the capillary vessels decreased below resting levels, and temporarily increased above resting levels immediately following the occlusion. Furthermore, a hyperemic reaction to the occlusions was measured, and the observation agreed well with similar measurements using more conventional imaging techniques. Due to its exceptional capability to functionally image vascular networks with high spatial resolution, photoacoustic microscopy could be a beneficial biomedical tool to assess microvascular functioning and applied to patients with diseases that affect cardiovascular health. © 2011 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.